Two golfing greats have sent personal and touching video messages to a north Northumberland legend of the amateur game, whose glittering career was cut short by a debilitating illness.
Sir Nick Faldo and Sandy Lyle sent their wishes to Peter Deeble, from Alnwick, who is battling motor neurone disease (MND) – a rare condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system.
The poignant video clips were played at a fund-raising golf day at Alnmouth Village Golf Club last month, in honour of Peter and in aid of the MND Association.
The event, which raised more than £2,000 for the cause, was organised by Paul Stancliffe and Ian Simpson, of No Limits Health Club, in Alnwick.
Peter, 62 and a member of the gym, used to play amateur golf with Sir Nick and Lyle and their video messages came as a complete surprise to him.
Peter, who has battled MND for more than 25 years, was touched by the videos and said that he hoped that the money raised from the golf day would help future sufferers of the disease.
A flag from the 144th Open, which was signed by Sir Nick, was also presented to Peter at the event.
In his heartfelt message to Peter, six-time Major champion Sir Nick, said: “I’m really sorry to hear about you and your condition but stay strong my friend and remember all those great shots we used to hit moons ago. All the best to you.
“I remember those days as amateur golfers trudging up and down Great Britain playing all those events. It was a fun time for me learning the game of golf.
“I wish you all the best for the golf event. The MND Association is an incredible cause and I hope everybody contributes the best they can.
Lyle, who won two Major championships during his career, said: “I hear you’re improving an awful lot in the gym and have a great golf day.”
Peter was one of the most gifted amateur golfers in Britain in the 1970s and early 80s, when his rivals and international team-mates included the likes of Sir Nick.
Talented Peter represented England more than 60 times and played in two Walker Cups for Great Britain and Ireland.
He also won two English Amateur Championships, the Lytham Trophy – where he held off competition from both Lyle and Charlie Green – and countless other titles. Peter was capped more than 100 times for Northumberland. He also played for both Alnwick and Alnmouth (Foxton) golf clubs during his time in the sport.
So it was fitting that the fund-raising golf day was a success. A total of 64 players from around the local area competed in the golf event. The winning team represented Blackshaws Garage and Richard Blackshaw gave a very touching tribute to Peter during the presentation.
A total of £2,070 was raised for MND, with a raffle/auction being well supported. Prizes were donated by locals, members of the gym, local businesses and golfing greats.
Paul, a PGA pro golfer, said: “Peter had a wonderful day and was overwhelmed with the turnout and the surprises on the day including the special video messages. Needless to say a few tears were shed.”
Thanks have been given to everyone who supported the event, including Matty Henderson for the catering. All green fees taken on the day were donated to the MND Association.
The golf day is due to be repeated in 2017.